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Friday 15 December 2017

No holding Boden back

Enda's fight from seven down to beat Crokes to title

BALLYBODEN ST ENDA'S 1-14

KILMACUD CROKES 1-13

(After extra-time)

A FIVER in -- where would you get it. Team-sheets into the bargain. Proper order.

The Crumlin coliseum rocked around the clock on Saturday afternoon.

A game of four halves. It ebbed and flowed like the old see-saw down in Blackrock Park.

A big crowd arrived to see the Southside superpowers. They had much to talk about over the supper.

Both sides know each other well. There were no free concessions. The exchanges were fast and furious, and sometimes fiery, but at the end, unlike at Old Trafford, it was handshakes all-round.

It was a tussle that tested the quality of the timber, and the stamina. Each and every player went the distance.



Conviction

Boden had to climb off the floor to win it. They were seven points down at half-time. Deep in the second half, ace forward, Niall McMorrow, underlined their conviction.

McMorrow charged back to make a crucial block just yards from the 'Boden goal at the pitch and putt end. His selfless industry directly led to a crucial point from Finian McDonagh.

"At half-time we asked the lads for a huge effort to get back into the game," revealed 'Boden boss, John Small. "It was a fantastic achievement to come back and win it in that fashion. We had a few injuries coming into the fixture and we were really up against it. It took us all our effort to beat Crokes. As our captain, Dean Curran, said, Crokes are the coming team."

Kilmacud mentor, Pat Halpin, added: "Our lads gave it their all. At the end of the day the better team won. That's life.

"It was nip-and-tuck for much of it. We were well up at half-time. Overall I thought it was a fantastic game for this time of the year in such soft conditions."

The breeze blew into the road-end. It wasn't a gale or anything like that, but Crokes had its advantage in the opening period to lead by 1-7 to 0-3.

Kevin O'Loughlin was setting off alarms all over the 'Boden house. He began his day's work with a delicious sideline from the right, and his bag of tricks proved very deep.

It was Seán McGrath who arrowed in the Kilmacud goal five minutes from the tea, connecting with the sliotar brilliantly from a tight angle on the right.

The early pages of the second half would be telling. Boden were bristling, and slowly they began to peg back the lead. They grew more and more into the tie. The Stillorgan club were finding it hard to win any ball, let alone engineer an opening. Ten minutes from time, after enduring much pressure, Mark Coughlan's sweet point had Crokes ahead by 1-9 to 0-9. Maybe that was the score that would clinch it.

But three points on the bounce from play by Naoise Maguire, Gavin Corrigan and Niall Ryan, three minutes into injury-time, ensured extra-time -- 1-9 to 0-12.

Earlier, on entering the ground Sean Shanley, vice-chairman of the Dublin County Board, issued the reminder that extra-time was on the menu. It must have been written on the wind.

Kilmacud held the initiative at half-time in extra-time, 1-12 to 0-13 following returns from McGrath, Jude Sweeney and O'Loughlin. But two minutes into the second period of extra-time, captain Curran drilled a close-in free to the Crokes sack at the pitch and putt end.

Stephen O'Connor's neat point then edged Boden ahead by two -- 1-14 to 1-12.

Deep in injury-time, Crokes earned a free to the left of the posts. O'Loughlin had to go for goal. He did. A parish held its breath. The ball was deflected over. And so ended a classic contest.

Only a fool, and his horse, would have been stupid enough to miss it.

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